I have been friends with this crazy girl named Sarah since we were in 4th grade. We played on the same soccer team at that time–up an age group, with the 5th grade girls. We were the slightly crazy, athletic girls of our grade. We even decided to go on runs around the block in our free time, which was something that 4th graders just didn’t do.
Sarah and I played soccer together until we diverged and went to different colleges. We didn’t lose touch, and we even went to nursing school together after we graduated with our first undergraduate degrees. It was at that time that we started getting into things non-soccer, as we both sustained nagging injuries after long premier and college soccer careers.
During nursing school we teamed up with Sarah’s mom to do (my) first team triathlon, the Finger Lakes Olympic Triathlon Relay. Sarah’s mom is a veteran swimmer, and she easily glided her way through the olympic distance. I biked, and Sarah (the most natural runner I have ever met), ran the final 10K.
After that experience, I was hooked. I loved the culture of the triathlon, although it still scared me…for reasons listed in my previous blog…
Three years later Sarah and I again decided to conquer the Finger Lakes Olympic. However, a few weeks before the race, we found that the lake had already “turned.” Lake temperature is typically in the 70s for that particular race, but two weeks before the water was in the low 60s. I know from my own personal experience that I cannot swim in water below 60 degrees. I think I would two wet-suits to get me through that cold…
So we switched to the Finger Lakes 1st Duathlon. And we didn’t regret it at all, especially considering it was 40 degrees outside that morning, and the lake was a brisk 65 (it was actually warmer than two weeks before…we probably could have stuck it out…but nah, not this time). Sarah and I decided we would have the best morning ever. We would race together and have fun. We did exactly that.
During our first 2.9 mile run (which was actually 3.1 miles per my watch…) we were super chatty and somehow pulling 7:30-7:45 minute miles. Did I mention Sarah is the most natural runner I know? We even got “yelled at” by another racer who mentioned we maybe weren’t running hard enough. Hey–we just wanted to have a good time! We are also catching up after not seeing each other for a few months!
We next moved on to the bike, which was beautiful. The race course hugs Canandaigua Lake and loops around quiet country roads. Although we remained racing together, we made sure to make sure that we had at least 3 bike lengths between us—we couldn’t draft! (Although we really wished we could have rode side by side). 16.1 MPH–not bad for a hilly course!
The last 3.1 mile run (which was actually 3.3), we were super speedy. We averaged somewhere around 7:15 minute miles but somehow felt better than our first run. We finished together with big smiles, zooming our way towards family and post race Wegmans food. Later, we celebrated by visiting a craft brewery in our home city of Rochester, NY.
Overall, I am so so fortunate to have such a good friend. Sarah and I have been through everything together, and we remain in touch almost every day even though we live 6 hours apart. From soccer to triathlons turned into duathlons, we will always compete together.
**By the way we won our age group and placed on the podium!**
Fergus–Sarah’s sister (the amazing photographer! Photo cred—Lauren, she deserves all of the credit)’s pup